People who think they had contact with aliens and the Harvard psychiatrist who believed them.
A few years ago, Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, a leading researcher in the alien encounter phenomenon, approached me about making a movie about encounters with these alien life forms. I told him no. I knew next to nothing about alien abduction, had no interest and thought it was all rather foolish. Then, he invited me to meet some of the people who claim to have had these experiences. They seemed rather normal and spoke about their feelings of connection and longing for these uninvited intruders to return. I had stumbled into a world filled by people who had been touched by something … and had their lives blown apart because of it. I was mesmerized. I feel that I was abducted by John Mack. This started my journey into the lives and minds of alleged abductees around the world, and into my own personal journey through skepticism, fear, insomnia, fascination, confusion and led to many many questions. These “experiencers,” as many of them call themselves, bring with them reports of missing time, bodily probing, sperm extraction, impregnation, a strange project to create a hybrid/alien-human race and apocalyptic warnings. According to various studies, the number of people world wide reporting alien abductions reaches into the hundreds of thousands. As there is no conclusive physical proof, the debate as to whether these stories are true or not could go on forever. Instead, I became more interested in the people — those who have had their lives both torn apart and transformed by this experience.
What happens when the unexplained intrudes into our lives, and how do lives and relationships respond when credulity is strained to a breaking point? This is the leading question I set out to explore. This is a film about the human experience — about longing for connection and fear of separation. When a person is confronted by something that is so powerful, so indescribably outside the realm of everyday life, it forces a reexamination of everything previously taken for granted. The experience redefines every relationship: with one’s self, family, and reality itself.
Following the lead of those like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell the audience will witness an archetypal “Hero’s Journey.” For the subjects of our film, this experience has resulted in a kind of Holy Grail search for truth. Beneath the sensational aspects of alien abduction, these are real people looking for answers. Touched follows a human quest to solve a mystery — perhaps only to find that the answer is the quest itself. I now call myself agnostic. I am not convinced that these people have been visited by “aliens,” but I do believe that something profound has happened to them. And maybe, just maybe, everything they have described is, in fact, completely true.
—Laurel Chiten, Filmmaker
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A uniquely contemplative perspective on the alien abduction phenomenon [and] presents the ‘experiencers’ and their stories with sensitivity and without judgement.
Opens up questions about the complexity of human psychological experience, human relationships, and scientific investigation.Anne Harrington, Professor